Huskies win and stay home
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain soccer won its first-round state-playoff game Thursday, downing Lewis-Palmer, 3-1, but that really wasn’t the big news.
As the team gathered in the locker room, everything stopped as assistant coach Allison O’Neill was working her phone. No. 26 Sand Creek was leading No. 7 Montrose, 1-0, with minutes remaining. Then about 25 smart phones and every other communication device went into overdrive as the clock ticked down.
When Sand Creek’s 1-0 victory went final, the Huskies went nuts.
Instead of a long road trip to Montrose Saturday, the Huskies are home for the second round against the aforementioned Scorpions. (We don’t have time for Saturday’s game yet as Battle Mountain athletic director Ryan McKay needs to get with his counterpart at Sand Creek likely today. We’ll have the time for the game on http://www.vaildaily.com and in Saturday’s paper.)
“It’s pretty exciting, huh? There was perhaps a little more tension in the locker room afterward,” Huskies coach David Cope joked. “This team has earned it. That’ll be a fun deal.”
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Oh, yes, the actual game the Huskies played was darn good. Battle Mountain took care of business with two lovely goals within a span of six minutes midway through the first half.
Bryan Aubel, who had been a rock defensively all season, showed a bit of his offensive flair with a shot into the box. Heivan Garcia was waiting on the far post and the Huskies had a 1-0 lead.
“He took a heck of a shot right there,” Garcia said of Aubel. “That was the best shot I’ve seen him take. I’m glad he’s taking shots inside of the 18. That causes trouble for the keeper.”
And that was the theme of the day – pressure Lewis-Palmer goalie Adam Fiala.
“One of the things we hadn’t done well all season is put pressure on goalkeepers,” Cope said.
Alex Trujillo to Joe LyBarger did the trick six minutes later.
“It was a fantastic ball. It was the out-bender,” LyBarger said. “Like Cope says, I knew I had to get stuck in on the net. I went for it. Sure enough, it was in the back of the net.”
Of course, what would Battle Mountain soccer be without a little drama. Christian Espinoza got too far out of the net, a rare mistake this season, with 10 minutes to go. Lewis-Palmer’s Tucker Nadal knocked in the easy goal, to halve the Huskies’ lead.
But in a nice touch, Battle Mountain picked up Espinoza after he had done the same so much during the regular season. A Ze Barbosa goal from Diego Rodriguez restored order and the Huskies were moving on to the second round.
“It’s always the best, especially when they are from Colorado Springs,” Garcia said. “They play the better teams like Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain. We knew we couldn’t take them easily because they had 3-2 scores against Cheyenne Mountain. So we had to play hard.”
Just for kicks
The last time the Huskies were at home for Round 2 was 2005, a 3-1 win over Cheyenne Mountain. The last time the Huskies made the quarterfinals (i.e. won two playoff games) was 2006 with a road win against Conifer. … The Huskies are 13-1-2. … Like Lewis-Palmer, Sand Creek (11-4-1) is from the Colorado Springs Metro League. The Scorpions tied the Rangers, 2-2, on Sept. 27, and bowed to Cheyenne Mountain, 3-1, Oct. 6.
Lewis-Palmer 0 1 – 1
Huskies 2 1 – 3
Scoring – Huskies, Heivan Garcia (24′), Huskies, Joe LyBarger (30′), Lewis-Palmer, Tucker Nadal (70′), Huskies, Ze Barbosa (74′)